Chef Bryan Voltaggio cooks up his famous Maryland crab cake sandwich

Learn how to make one of the chef, restaurateur, and TV personality's favorite recipes. 

Chef Bryan Voltaggio

Home cooks were treated to a seafood masterclass as Bryan Voltaggio led a virtual lesson in making his famous Maryland crab cake sandwich. The chef, restaurateur, and TV personality took over Mastercard’s Twitter handle to guide viewers through every step of the process, and even let them choose some of the ingredients. 

“This is one of my favorite recipes, and it’s altered a little bit by you because we tasked everyone out there to pick some of the ingredients that I’ll be cooking with,” Voltaggio explained. “Fortunately, a lot of them were in my wheelhouse.”

Chief among them was one of his all-time favorites, Maryland blue crab, which is currently in season. 

“Crab season opened on April 1, and I’m putting crab in everything,” he said with a laugh. “I’m making crab waffles, crab deviled eggs, crab cakes, crab dip—it’s insanity around here when it comes to crabmeat.”

But for those who cannot use crabmeat, he suggested an easy and delicious substitute. 

“If you don’t have blue crab at home, or if you’re allergic to shellfish, steam a pound of cod, flake it up, and follow along with the recipe,” he said.

To help the recipe (available below) turn out perfectly, Voltaggio offered several expert tips. First off, cleaning the bits of shells out of the crabmeat before forming the patties can be expedited with an unlikely kitchen tool: a blacklight from your local hardware store.  

“Nobody wants to bite into a crab cake with shells inside, and I have a trick for avoiding this that we use in the restaurants,” he explained. “In a dark room or at night, lay the crabmeat on a sheet tray and shine the blacklight over it. The shells will turn fluorescent—they’ll have an iridescent reflection—and you’ll be able to pull them all out.”

Even more essential, according to Voltaggio, is letting your crab cake patties chill in the refrigerator for at least six hours before cooking them. 

“Often I’ll make them the night before, because they have to be nice and chilled,” he said. “The breading that’s in there starts to bind the crab cake and will hold it together while you’re cooking.”

Once his crab cakes were out of the pan, Voltaggio let viewers in on a secret ingredient that adds both flavor and fun to the finished sandwich. 

“My secret ingredient is crab chips, and I don’t put them on the side, I put them on my sandwich,” he said. “I love the layers, texture, and additional flavor of that crab seasoning—just smash it down and go to town.”

Before signing off to enjoy his sandwich, Voltaggio discussed some of Mastercard’s efforts in the fight against COVID-19, as well as his own. 

“There are a lot of initiatives that Mastercard’s been doing during COVID-19, including helping small businesses,” he said. “I, too, have been fortunate to be able to work with No Kid Hungry, for example.”

As an extension to this online cooking class, Voltaggio is offering five cardholders the opportunity to join a virtual meet-and-greet with him, where he will offer culinary advice and answer any questions they might have. Visit for this and other exciting virtual experiences. 



Download recipe: Bryan Voltaggio Maryland Crab Cake Sandwiches



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